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North Korean restaurants springing up around Asia to raise money for regime


At precisely 7.30pm, the waitresses put down their trays and start to perform. Wearing traditional Korean Choson-ot dresses in bright colours, they dance to a curious mix of western pop covers and North Korean national songs.

We're in a vast, strip-lit venue that serves up dog stew washed down with soju and some form of kimchi in virtually every dish – but the restaurant's main selling point is that it offers a window onto the world's most secretive state.

Welcome to Pyongyang restaurant in Phnom Penh, one of a chain of eateries owned by Office 39, an arm of the North Korean government, that have sprung up across Asia since the 1990s to channel money back to the regime

On the night we visit the Phnom Penh branch is packed with hundreds of diners, mostly Cambodian and South Korean men.

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